The most wonderful time of the year is upon us -where we are all starring at the stressfulness that is the holiday season. Whether it is family coming in from out of town or the increased visits to the mall to make sure you get that perfect present or welcoming gift, the stress from the day beyond the office walls become overwhelming at times. So, as a manager, how do you keep your coworkers involved and boost morale and holiday spirit? Here are some wonderful ways to ease the stress and raise morale during the busiest part of the year.
You and your team may not all celebrate the same holidays – be aware of that and be inclusive in your holiday plans. A diverse team may be the perfect opportunity to recognize *everyone’s* holidays – and help people who celebrate holidays that are usually ignored feel included!
Everyone loves the smell of a warm plate of cookies, especially when the weather becomes a little crisp outside. But you should really look at taking it a step above that if your day is going to be longer than normal. It has been proven that even providing just one meal per week can significantly increase motivation and morale. This makes the company and the employees feel more valued and appreciated, because honestly, who doesn’t like free food? And if you really want to take it one step further – add a reason for your team to take even 15 minutes and look up from their desks, grab a meal, and interact with others in the office – even if it’s something as simple as writing a wish for the holiday season on a pre-printed paper ornament and hanging it on a tree. (Yes, you can have a Thanksgiving tree too! Just decorate it with colored leaves and turkeys!)
PS – be aware of your team members with dietary restrictions (for whatever reason) and make sure you have food available that they can eat!
Let Working Hours be Fluid
If you allow your employees to work on a time schedule that works for them, you can ease the pain of a time crunch. Every one of your employees has responsibilities outside your company’s walls, and if they are attended to, the less stress they will carry into the work environment. Also, consider giving more paid time off before and after a hectic season. All of this is to help your employees achieve a better and more harmonious work-life balance.
Recognize the Hard Workers
You may not know it, but there are always those hard workers making sure that goals and timelines are being achieved even in the midst of the holiday rush. A lot of these workers are the silent ones in the background, making it all happen. You should take the time to recognize these individuals or teams of individuals. You can achieve this by promoting an in-house recognition program or even a “bonus in the moment” where you award that person a gift card or even cold hard cash right on the spot.
Decorate the Office
With the seasons coming and going faster and faster, you can make simple adjustments to the office to make the holiday season feel special. This doesn’t have to be extravagant nor something that you take on by yourself. Encourage others to bring in things that inspire them for the holidays to help you decorate the office. And consider taking on a public area where your team is likely to gather yourself. A few small decorations can go a long way towards making people smile.
Plan Social Activities
Put together some activities where you are all a large team outside of the workspace, such as a holiday party or even giving back to the community by donating your time to provide meals for those less fortunate. Reward those that show up and take part in not only working as a team but for something much more than the company.
Play Holiday Music
Now, this is an easy one but not something to be abused. Most people love holiday music, but if you start playing it a little too early in the season, you might be working against your goal. Allow employees to suggest radio stations that are playing holiday music and switch through them often. Everyone gets a little pep in their step when their favorite holiday song comes on, and you will see it too. But remember – not everyone wants to hear the same 5-holiday songs from early October through the end of the year!
In the month of December, plan some activities for your employees to participate in. Some ideas for you are something like holiday trivia, cookie contest, best “elf on the shelf” picture of the week, secret Santa, and that is just to name a few. This will pull you and your employee’s minds away from the grind of work and allow for a little de-stressing throughout the week as you are nearing the bigger holidays of the year.